Community Energy England and Community Energy Wales announced the winners of the 2018 Community Energy Awards at the Arnolfini, Bristol on Friday 19 October. The awards were sponsored by Bristol City Council and Co-op Energy. This award was sponsored by GENeco.

Jason Blanchard is the first ever Community Energy Young Champion, a new award for 2018 celebrating the increasing amount of creative, organised and motivated young people getting involved in community energy. 

Jason has worked with numerous community energy enterprises across the South West of England including Burnham and Weston Energy CIC, Tamar Energy Community, Atlantic Community Energy, Falmouth Energy Partnership, South Dartmoor Community Energy, Yealm Community Energy and Wadebridge Renewable Energy Network. This is through his role as Technical Manager at Communities for Renewables CIC (CfR), and as a volunteer in his own personal time.

Jason is passionate about the community energy business model as a sustainable method for ensuring community benefit is gained from renewable energy. He holds a MEng in Renewable Energy at the University of Exeter and his expertise lies in technical asset management and performance monitoring.

Jason has branched out beyond his technical expertise to learn about fundraising and has assisted in creating reports for one of the UK’s largest community energy bond offers (Burnham and Weston Energy CIC) raising £4 million, and in his spare time has assisted with smaller crowdfunding projects for Falmouth Energy Partnership and Atlantic Community Energy. His inquisitive mindset has helped him quickly learn areas which are not related to his background in renewable energy engineering, and he has overcome areas he was lacking in knowledge in by constantly striving to learn new skills and research new areas – from business and finance to software development. Within just a few years at Communities for Renewables he has learned what is required of an asset manager and now successfully operates one of the largest community-owned installations in the UK (Burnham and Weston Energy CIC).

Community Energy England and Community Energy Wales congratulate Jason on everything he has achieved to date and wishes him the best of success with future endeavours.

Ahead of the ceremony in Bristol, an expert panel of judges selected winners in each of the seven categories following an open application process. Mark Billsborough, Head of Renewables and Hedging at Co-op Energy and one of the Community Energy Awards 2018 judging panel, said: “It’s been an honour to judge the Community Energy Awards 2018. I can honestly say that making the final decisions was incredibly difficult. From domestic heat loss surveys to creating large-scale wind farms owned by the community, it’s clear that the impact of groups across England and Wales means more people are able to access the benefits of community energy and make a change for the better in our bid to become a more energy efficient society.”